Police are searching for a possible arsonist after six fires were reported in about an hour along several blocks of Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.
Reports of rubbish fires began as early as 8:15 p.m. At 8:53 p.m., 35 firefighters responded to a blaze started in the back of a strip mall on the 13900 block of Ventura Boulevard that spread to a neighboring two-story apartment building.
No one has been injured. The structure fire was knocked down in 17 minutes, with the damage occurring mostly on the exteriors of both buildings, said Katherine Main, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $20,000.
The latest reported fire occured west of the structure fire at 9:23 p.m., near Woodman Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, Main said.
Police are searching for a heavyset male about 6 feet tall, wearing a tanktop and riding a BMX bike, said Sgt. Steven Gottschalk of the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys Division.
Police officers have set up a perimeter and notified neighboring police divisions to be on alert.